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Alice Bee and Christopher Levy.
718 years before the Battle of Yavin (683BrS:2:34) in the Alderaan system: Alderaan (Aldera: Universal Medcenter).
Doctor Chin, Baron Germanicus Rodney (Darth Crassus), Magnus Rodney, and Baroness Raeni Rodney.

Germanicus Rodney had placed the battered and broken Raeni in his starfighter, along with the Twi'lek boy, and traversed the Alderaan system to the planet Alderaan. It was a risk taking her here, but her condition was so severe that he worried she would not survive a hyperspace journey. As he delivered her to the doctors at the Aldera medcenter he informed them, simply, that 'she fell'. None of the doctors believed him, and it would not be long before the Alderaan Guard was called to conduct a proper investigation. After all, Raeni now was a Baroness through her marriage to Germanicus, and therefore a public figure. As he sat in the waiting room he had grown restless. He rose from his seat repeatedly, drank several glasses of water, and paced about endlessly. "What's your name, boy?" he asked the Twi'lek, after surfing the HoloNet and reading every headline twice. At some point he would have to confront the child.

It was not long after take off that Raeni succumbed to the pain and fell unconscious. There was nowhere else as reliable...or as Alderaan to take her. The Twi'lek boy had held the woman's hand all the way to the medcenter. They had to have been an odd sight to behold when they arrived. Raeni, with injuries that couldn't be explained without revealing who they truly were. The boy was out of place, standing close to Germanicus throughout everything they endured. In the waiting room, he was well behaved. He sat in a chair, chin tilted downward. His eyes went as big as dishes when the man spoke to him. It was obvious that he was young...three...*maybe* four years old. He replied in a faint voice. "Brat." It was the only name he ever knew. It was questionable if his parents had been hiding out on Hoth to keep him safe...or to keep the way they treated him a secret from all nosey Jedi. Raeni had said he was far too skinny. He was drowning in one of her tops. He reached his hand over, placing it on top of Germanicus'. "Don't be sad. It's warm here. He'll be okay." The boy was far too young to understand grammar rules for each sex.

"Brat? Brats not a name!" Germanicus said, scolding the child, as he channeled his concern about Raeni into harsh tones directed at the Twi'lek. He moved to the water cooler again, but as he placed his cup there to get water none came out. He let out a groan as he slapped the device, hating the fact that he was powerless to help Raeni. When the boy touched him he momentarily grew calm, and shifted his attention down to the boy whose parents he had earlier killed. "She. She will be okay," he corrected the child, before folding his arms in front of his chest and looking towards the door that separated them from where Raeni was being worked on. If it took any longer he was likely to unleash a rage that would leave everyone in the vicinity dead.

"It's not..?" The boy looked like his mind had been blown. It was the one name he had been referred to for as long as he remembered. Granted, that wasn't a lengthy amount of time. He was feeding off of Germanicus' discomfort at this point. He, too, felt antsy. It had become harder to stay seated. He kicked his legs in and out. "She will be okay." The boy repeated, mumbling the word 'she' to himself over and over again.

Before mass murder could take place inside of the medcenter, Doctor Chin poked his head out into the waiting room. The human doctor looked exhausted, as Raeni Rodney's case was as extreme as it gets. "You may come see her now." The man didn't buy the explanation that the Baron had given to his wife's injuries. He didn't think it aligned with spousal abuse either. From the way some of her bones had broken, it was almost as if a full grown bantha had been dropped on her. He couldn't explain the situation. He did not allow Germanicus to see his wife right away. Instead, he cornered the man in a quiet corridor of the medcenter. He held a datapad. "Before you see her, there are things we need to discuss. She was in surgery for a lengthy time. Your wife is stable, but we're not out of the woods yet." He glanced at the report a nurse had written up regarding all of the Baroness' injuries. It was a medical mystery how it had happened. The man looked up from the datapad. He seemed very concerned. "There is one other thing..."

The sudden arrival of Doctor Chin prevented Germanicus from telekinetically hurling the water cooler across the waiting room. When he said he could see Raeni he was excited, but as he started towards the door he did not get very far. "What is it, doctor?" he asked him, growing quite annoyed at the further delay in getting to see her. He listened as the doctor recounted the surgery, along with the bad news that she was not entirely well. "What?! What is it?!" he asked, angrily, not out of concern for his wife, but rather anger towards the doctor that he was keeping him from his wife. Whatever it was, surely it was not worth keeping him from his wife.

The little Twi'lek scurried after Germanicus. As far as he knew, these were his people now. He wasn't listening to the doctor, who was making Germanicus more and more angry. He anxiously pushed forward and wandered the ward until he found where Raeni's room was. He saw her through a small viewport, lying in bed. It seemed he had forgotten that Raeni tried to kill him. Instead, he followed the same call that she had. He huddled up on her bed and draped his arms over her legs.

Doctor Chin saw how easily the man lost his temper. Perhaps this was a case of extreme spousal abuse. However, he could not withhold information from his patient's husband. "Your wife is pregnant." He delivered. "It is likely that even she doesn't know. It's early on. I cannot believe the fetus even survived. You need to stay realistic. If she doesn't recover properly, she could still lose the baby." The doctor explained with seriousness in his voice. He tortured Germanicus no more, and led him straight to Raeni Rodney's room. He spotted the small child lying on the bed. He didn't say anything. He didn't even enter the room. He wasn't sure what to make of this situation.

Raeni was lying in an inclined bed. She looked much better than when he had found her beneath a pile of rocks. There was cuts and bruising on her face. The vast majority of her body was covered in bandages which were coated with bacta to inspire her it to heal quicker. She was awake. She stared out the viewport into her 'fight' with Germanicus' master. The doctors had made her comfortable so she no longer felt the extreme pain. She had no idea she was pregnant. All she knew right now was that she had gained a little Twi'lek boy and that she wanted to see Germanicus.

The news that the Doctor gave him caused a stir of emotions within him so powerful that it nearly knocked him off his feet. Above it all, however, he felt a call to the light. He felt weak. He felt soft. The 'good' feelings he had concerning the news that he was going to be a father combined to make him turn away from the dark for a moment. When the doctor mentioned that the child might not survive the darkness consumed him once again and it was as if a gust of wind swept through the room. "I leave her to your good graces, doctor. For your sake ... I hope that they both recover," and with that he moved forward, making a point to brush his shoulder into the doctor. When he saw Raeni in bed he moved beside her, taking a seat, and then reaching across the bed to place a hand upon her stomach. He could already feel the life within her. He then moved his hand down until he found her hand, clutching it for dear life. She needed to live ... for her ... for him ... and for their child.

Undoubtedly, after Doctor Chin's run in, Baroness Rodney became the patient he was monitoring most. The man had a pretty good idea of what was going to happen should the Baron lose either child or wife.

Inside the recovery room, Raeni was drawn back to reality. She felt Germanicus' hand at her stomach first, then he took her hand. Everything felt so weak. It was frustrating that even her fingers would not move accordingly. She tried to squeeze his hand but her grip was so gentle that she didn't think he felt it. Her head slowly turned to the side. He'd made sure she survived, just as she was certain he would. "Germanicus," she said softly. It nagged at her that she had been unable to triumph over his master, but it wasn't the first thing on her mind. "I love you." Raeni hadn't simply had a brush with death. She struggled with death himself until she beat him. There was one battle which she had won today. "I couldn't beat him." Raeni admitted in a moment of weakness. "I wanted to set you free..."

Germanicus trembled when he heard Raeni profess her love for him. The call of the light became even more powerful with the news that he was husband to a loving wife and a father to be. "I love you, Raeni," he said to her, as he clutched her hand more tightly. He wanted to tell her that she was going to be a mother, but he decided it was better to wait until she had built more strength. He also wanted to make sure that the child would survive, as the poor woman looked terribly bruised and battered from her injuries. "I should have never let you go unattended. It is *my* fault," he explained to her, before clenching his jaw so tightly that his cheeks began to redden with anger. "I am free," he told her, with a firm nod of his head, as the chill of the dark side returned to him, from his pride. "My master is no more. I am the master now," he told her, with such venom on his words his tongue seemed to slither like a snake.

The woman made a groan that said, without words, that she was arguing with him. "I didn't know it was him waiting for me." Raeni didn't blame him. She was glad she had survived so far. At least her final words to her husband weren't going to be fighting ones. They had been debating over the Twi'lek when everything happened. Her eyes briefly left Germanicus to look down at him. The small boy had fallen asleep on the bed. It was enough to soften her heart in the emotional moment. She turned her head back towards Germanicus, who informed her that the sinister man was dead. "You killed him?!" She was a little unhappy that she had missed the fight between him and his master. As broken as she was, pride for her husband swelled inside of her. She smiled. He was *free*. She summoned all the strength in her hand to give him a squeeze. "I'm so proud of you. You'll make for a much better Dark Lord."

Germanicus remained silent when she asked if he had killed Darth Diabolus. While he had not directly killed his master, he had commanded the beasts to perform the task for him ... so, from a certain point of view, he had. "Yes," he told her, locking his eyes on hers impassionately as he sealed their bond with a white lie. He knew that she would grow to be more powerful than him, but she did not need to know that, so he was content to let her think he was powerful enough to defeat the monster that had defeated her. "Of course I will," he told her, before turning his attention toward the door. "There's someone else that wants to see you too," he said, before motioning with his hard to bring the Twi'lek boy in. "He says his name is 'Brat'," he informed Raeni, with a smirk, as his attention shifted back to her. "I'd ask his parent his name, but..." he continued, with a smirk, and a devilish laugh. "You'll have to name him when you're up to it," he said, before squeezing her hand once again.

Raeni would have spent decades preparing herself to kill Darth Diabolus before actually succeeding. Their brief 'fight'...if you could even call it that, had reminded the woman of how little she was in this universe. She still had to grow. She still had to find her own power. Raeni realized that she had never seen the extent of Germanicus' power, but now she was certain that he was stronger than she previously thought. His little white lie had worked. She sat up slightly, looking towards the fidgeting Twi'lek boy just outside her door. "Brat, huh..?" Her eyes narrowed as the child began to approach them. Raeni snickered as she thought of the fate of his parents, who had been ill-prepared to care for the young force user. The small boy ran to the opposite side of Raeni. He copied every moment of Germanicus, moving a chair, and then seating himself at her side. He even took Raeni's empty hand in both of his. Germanicus was not the only one who felt the pull to the light. Just briefly...ever so briefly...Raeni felt it. Her stomach lurched sideways. She looked away from the boy and towards her husband. "He isn't ours." She stated obviously. "I don't know if my heart is big enough to care for him. That's the real reason why I didn't want to bring him. I don't have motherly instincts."

"Whatever we are strong enough to take is ours," Germanicus informed her, as his hand squeezed her hand so tightly that it might hurt. "You will develop those instincts over time. They will come to you as came the skill with the blade," he said, before rising up from the chair to allow the Twi'lek child closer access to her. He knew that by having Raeni train with the Twi'lek she would be a more experienced and skillful mother when the time came to raise their child. He felt exposed in this medcenter. Already HoloNet News was outside asking questions about what happened to the Baroness Rodney. His reputation was in danger ... as was his plan to assume the throne after the death of the King. If any tarnish was upon him he would stand no chance when a successor was voted on. He would need to develop a cover story that would not just clear their name, but enhance it.

His squeeze did hurt. She let out a little groan of discomfort. Her body was such a mess. Germanicus' words were enough to make Raeni feel a little better about the Twi'lek boy: the boy she'd learn to call her son. The small boy was affectionate towards her and fearful of the world outside. As soon as he could, he huddled close to Raeni. His head came to rest on her stomach. His skin was light blue. He looked so unhealthy. Apparently they had saved him from a bad situation. She ran her hand over his head softly. This boy would make good practice for when her and Germanicus had a blood child of their own. Her eyes flickered upward. She could hear the irritating HoloNet News reporters outside. It reminded Raeni of the kind of problems her husband bringing her had caused...and how much he loved her to risk his reputation for her. As tired as she was, she looked to her husband. "Pick one of those damn reporters and bring them in here. I've got a story. Let us get them off our backs so I can recover in peace." She anticipated going back to Delaya and relaxing in the comfort of her own bed with her sea beast nearby.

The only group Germanicus hated than the nobles at court were the reporters. "As you wish," he said to her grimly, before stepping out of the room. He felt sick. He wanted to simply affect the mind of the reporter to make him report whatever story she had conceived verbatim. Moving through the hospital corridors he felt the eyes of the doctors and nurses upon them, which further served to unsettle him. Before long he found himself returning to her room with a reporter, against doctor's wishes, but the only desires he cared about belonged to Raeni. "Here she is, my dear," he said, as he introduced the reporter to his battered wife. He could feel the reporter glaring at him, wondering if he were responsible. He said nothing more, but simply retreated into the corner of the room to see her plan unfold.

The reporters were only going to weigh on their minds. Germanicus had taken Diabolus from her mind, so now she wanted to do something for him. After he had left the room, Raeni sunk back into the bed. She wondered how long they'd make her stay here. Even she knew that she needed to recover significantly more before going home. She anticipated each moment until Germanicus arrived with the female reporter. Raeni did her best to assume the role of nobility, forcing herself to smile when she would much rather go to sleep. "Thank you, love." Her eyes focused on the woman. "Please understand that I'm very tired, Miss. I'm only going to say this once." She looked down at the Twi'lek boy affectionately. "This is our adopted son, Magnus. We had hoped to keep the adoption a secret until he had time to acclimate himself to his new life. Magnus is nearly four years old." Raeni guessed.

"He lived in a bad part of Felucia, where there have been some major turf disputes over the years." She called to mind a report she had read recently. "Though it was seen as dishonorable, his mother decided to discretely put the boy up for adoption. When we made the decision to take him in, she suddenly disappeared. So did Magnus. My husband and I decided to make the trip to Felucia and speak with the adoption agency. They gave us no answers...and no answers wasn't good enough for me. I decided to go to his last known location to find him. He couldn't stay there anymore. Look at him...malnourished, much too small for his age...he *needed* us." Raeni pleaded emotionally. Germanicus had clearly picked the right wife to sway people in his direction. "There was fighting going on. Though I found the boy, I ended up getting involved in it. I got hurt. Badly." She sighed, cuddling the boy she named 'Magnus'. "My husband wanted to seek out the best help for me so he brought me here. As much as we wanted this to be different...I don't regret what I did. Magnus will never have to live another day like that." She looked towards her husband with tears in her eyes.

Germanicus watched in awe as Raeni skillfully and adeptly manipulated the reporter into believing her harrowing tale of rescuing the Twi'lek child from the terrors of Felucia. He could hardly manage to keep a straight face as he was overcome with sheer delight at what was unfolding in front of him. For the sake of her story he focused his memory on some of the terrors subjected to him by his master, which caused his facial expression to shift into something more darker to fit the somberness of her tale. When she had finished spinning her yarn he moved forward, taking the reporter, who was now crying, by the arm out of the room. "You understand that she requires rest, and we require privacy," he said to the woman, who nodded in understanding. With the woman gone, he turned back into the room and looked upon Raeni and Magnus ... in this day he had become both Dark Lord of the Sith and a father. Nothing would stand in his way.

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